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Operation Bagration Discussion

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe February 1943 to End of War' started by O.M.A., Jul 17, 2013.

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  1. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Unfortunately, literature sources on Operation Bagration are scarse. Everything I know about that operation is from Anglosaxon sources and partially from German articles published in Spiegel magazine quite long time ago.

    It appears that Operation Bagration is not Russian plagiarism of the German Kessesschlacht. I am deliberately using that German word instead of unclear concept of Blitzkrieg because Kesselschlacht is much more adequate. Interestingly, Hitler himself didn't like that term either, for good reasons, I guess.

    Operation Bagration was rather double Deep operation, a variant of strategy developed by Tukhachevsky. There was no intention to converge two spearheads like Germans preferred to do in order to create a Kessel (ang: cauldron). The idea behind Bagration was to penetrate deep behind the enemy lines and to destroy the enemy's rear and logistics. In fact Russians have constantly advanced until they have dangerously overstretched their own supply lines and then stalled. According to Rokossowski's memoirs, Stalin insisted on a single line of advance, but Rokossowsky convinced Stavka to approve his original plan with two axes of advance.
     
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  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Hitler spelled out his priorities for 1944 in a directive in January. The priority for the year would be the Western Front, with the aim of defeating the channel crossing. If the anglo american allies could be thrown into the sea and British morale attacked with V Weapons Hitler would be able to turn full attention to beat the Soviet Union. Bagration was less important than Overlord for this reason
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Well, the Soviets used maskirovka against Germansfor them to move the armor away from the Red Army main attack zone, so they did that truly well, and made it all the way to Warsaw, where they stopped due to SS-Totenkopf panzed div as well as other troops, but the bad language says they wanted the Germans to clear the city of the "rebels" which they did.
     
  4. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    That's entirely true. According to Guderian the Fuehrer stated that the Eastern front must take care of itself. The key was, however, that Germans have expected an attack from the North Ukraine which could be much easier to handle with available resources. It was hoped that Model would cut-of the Soviet spearhead advancing from south east. That is why the peril from the East was underestimated.

    Western allies should be equally praised for their own deception strategies used during preparations for operation Overlord. It is impossible to exaggerate difficulties to hide such a vast operation in densely populated Southern England and yet - surprise was complete. As I can recall, both Rommel and Busch were at leave when their armies were attacked. Western allies were equal if not better in hiding their real intentions from the Abwehr.

    All in all: during the summer of 1944 Wehrmacht was outplayed, outfought and overthought by the both Western allies and the USSR.
     
  5. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/call/call_3-88_histp.htm


    Excerpt:
    Hook, Line, and Sinker
    Deceiving themselves, with Russian help, the Germans did everything the Red Army hoped for to weaken Army Group Center. Most German armor reserves were poured into the northern Ukraine. (CG AG North Ukraine) controlled 80 percent of German armor. In late May, Busch transferred LVI Panzer Corps to Model (CG AG North Ukraine) on Hitler's orders. Without this powerful formation, Army Group Center lost the reserves with which it had blunted earlier assaults on Byelorussia. The results are history. The Red Army's attack against Army Group Center led to the destruction of 28 German divisions, the loss of 350,000 German soldiers, and the Third Reich being pushed out of Russia. There can be little doubt that synchronized strategic, operational, and tactical deception had been pivotal to the Soviet triumph.
     
  6. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Thanks for the link mate! :)

    With hindsight, it appears that gradual promotions of loyal but incompetent ardent Nazis has also contributed to the scale of the defeat. One of loyal Nazi halfwits was Feldmarschall Ernst Busch. Historian Ziemke describes him as »ideenlosen Werkzeug, das lediglich Führerbefehle weiterleitete“ or in English "uninspired tool that merely forwarded leader commands".
    Furthermore Ziemke describes German refusal to deviate from their original estimate that the attack would come in Ukraine as “an almost hypnotic self-induced delusion: the main offensive would come against Army Group Northern Ukraine because that was where they were ready to meet it.” Hilarious but true.
     
  7. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Soviet superiority in all categories can not be denied yes, however; these numbers had to be built up in secret. "Maskirovka" my friend was Soviet Unions trickery :D in which she convinced the German High command that an impending attack would come from the south in Ukraine while in reality it would come from the north. To achieve this fake regiments were set up, jeeps were equipped with special "rakes" which would multiply the amount of dust/debris in the air replicating large troop movement as they drove back and forth. Reconnaissance planes grew in number over the Ukraine. Fake field kitchens were set up in plain view, and movement was restricted to night time without the use off headlights. All this while quietly building up in the north truly was a remarkable achievement especially considering the relatively close proximity of the opposing sides.

    When the blow finally came it caught the Germans by complete surprise. The shock and awe of the Russian offensive decimated German defensive positions and quickly over ran their lines routing the men. Sorry friend but I'm not convinced that the outcome would have been the same or close to it, had the Germans been aware of Soviet plans.
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    As I've said before it's a pet peeve of mine but ...
    The Germans would probably have been thrilled if all the Soviets had done was decimate their positions. Inflicting a 10% loss would have been something they could have accepted and dealt with.
     
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  9. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Haha very true. Not splitting any hairs here eh? :D
     
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  10. Otto

    Otto Gearing up. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    The strict definition of decimation means one in ten, but the current usage is closer to annihilation or devastation. I'm stickler for clear and specific definitions but I'm not all that excited when someone uses the term "a moment" and is referring to an instant rather than corresponding to a minute and a half.

    That said, I completely agree with you. I only use the term decimation to the killing of one in ten.
     
  11. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    I can see the usage as a verb. I understand that the historical usage is 1/10 but Sloniksp was clearly using it as an action. However, I thank you all for the quick historical grammar lesson. Cheers :)
     
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  12. Otto

    Otto Gearing up. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    We are all very precise here, lest the admins beat us with clubs and open-hand slaps. :shiner:
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Historically it was a verb. Orginally it was a form of punishment inflicted on a Roman legion whose performance was judged substantially sub par. Lots were chosen within the legion and 1 in 10 of the members of the legion were then stoned to death by the rest.
     
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  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  15. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Tanks might have been fake but a hole between the Army group north and the Army group north ukraine was real. At that point nothing stood between the Red army and Berlin. That wasn't decimation but anihilation of the entire Army group centre. Indeed, the term decimation is disproportionate understatement.
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Some authors claim this is the first time the Red Army used the Bltizkrieg tactics in war but I can only say it worked.... :)
     
  17. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    [SIZE=10.5pt]Kai, I'm not trying to be too pedantic but the "Blitzkrieg" is just another linguistic bug. The notorious term “Blitzkrieg” has never been used in German military circles, except just two occurrences in thirties. It appears that this is just another press/propaganda term.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10.5pt]But I was also really puzzled why historians systematically avoid the original name of Russian strategy: Deep Penetration but today I have found the possible reason. Just imagine a book entitled »Bagration - Deep Penetration on Byelorussian Balcony«. The book could have end-up on the pornography shelf. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10.5pt]But, in reality, the Russians penetrated the Germans really hard on the Byelorussian Balcony.[/SIZE]
     
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  18. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    it may partly that despite Tuhkachevsky being executed and his works prohibited, much of his theories were used, but no one could givehis ideas credit
     
  19. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    I have to disagree ,for the following reasons

    1) As in Normandy, the German plans /location of forces were not depending on Maskirova/ Fortitude; but on what,following the Germans, would be more dangerous : a (successful ) attack against AGNU or against AGC . And it was obvious that an attack against AGNU would be more dangerous : such an attack would result in the destruction of AGC, while Bagration did not result in the destruction of AGNU .The frontline of AGC was more located in the east and thus farther from Berlin than the frontline of AGNU and AGSU .

    2) There was,prior Bagration, much more fighting on the fronts of AGNU and AGSU than on the front of AGC .In may the German losses were :

    AGC :12000/ AGNU : 41000 /AGSU :25000

    For 1/20 june :

    AGC : 6000

    AGNU : 6000

    AGSU : 11000

    Without the presence of most of the German mobile divisions on the front of AGNU, this AG would have collapsed,with very dire consequences .

    All that the Germans could do was hoping that if there was an attack against AGC, this AG could stop the attack .

    In june 1944 the Germans had no longer any freedom of movement, they were dancing to the piping of Stalin .The only possibility they had was to rob Peter to pay Paul .

    An exemple for the dire situation of AGNU was the presence of 9 and 10 SS PzD there AND the fact that they were no longer on the front, but had to be withdrawned behind the front ,because of the heavy losses they had suffered during the fighting prior Bagration .
     
  20. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Normandy was very much maskirova, the west convinced Hitler that the main landing would be in the PAs de Calais whichmeant a lot of divisions were kept there and especially many PZ divisions were not released
     
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